Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 27
Denied their dues by contractors and left with no other option amid lockdown, construction workers in Noida and Greater Noida of Uttar Pradesh are walking back to their respective native places as far as 500 km.
Kamlesh, a 42-year-old construction worker in Greater Noida, says he and several others like him were engaged by a contractor, who lives in nearby Ghaziabad’s Vijaynagar, on a weekly wage payment basis. “But we did not get our wage for last week. As we are left with no money and food, I, along with my brother Rajesh and nephew Chhotu, have decided to walk back to our Barsoia village in Hardoi district of UP,” says Kamlesh.
When asked how they would cover 385 km from Greater Noida on foot, Rajesh says: “Hopefully, on the way, as we have heard, we may get some support from the police and the government.”
Similarly, a group of 16 persons, comprising women and children of three families — have also started walking from Greater Noida to Jhansi in Bundelkhand (UP), which is 370 km away. “We all work and live together here. So we have decided to start our journey together at least till Etawah and then we will branch out for our respective destinations,” says Kamlesh.
Shivnath, a native of Bachaoli Khurd village of Jhansi, says, “There is no work here and our contractor is not paying us our dues."
Amid reports of workers leaving the district on foot, the Gautam Buddh Nagar (comprising Noida and Greater Noida) Administration on Friday provided transportation to over 600 stranded people to help them reach their native places during the lockdown. Officials say migrant workers, including women and children, were picked up from the Yamuna Expressway between Thursday midnight and sent to their respective destinations in over a dozen buses.